Ships in the Night + Part 2
Duoman couldn't help but let
out a slow, round whistle as he was confronted by the magnitude of what
money can buy. Every single one of his human senses told him that he was
indeed on a sunswept island in the middle of a glimmering sea. It was
his *in*human senses that saw behind all the magic that was San Rommell.
His sauntering promenade to the hotel where he knew Heero had booked Chang
was punctuated by quite a few outright stares of longing to which he was
somehow quite unaware. Arriving at the Sparkling Sands Resort, he made
a beeline for the pool. It seemed to be the obvious place to attract attention
to oneself, which was exactly what he knew Chang would be attempting to
Quatre Raberba Winner had decided about five minutes ago that this was
heaven. He stretched out his long, golden legs, drinking in the heady
sunshine until he felt a bit dizzy. The only thing that could possibly
have made this moment any better would be the presence of his husband.
Quatre caught his breath. Or that gorgeous vision of a creature walking
away from him. His aquamarine eyes traveled the length of the best pair
of legs he had ever seen, rising to the hem of cut-off denim shorts
which left very little to the imagination, before coming to light on a
very long, very familiar chestnut-hued braid.
"O merciful Allah! Duoman!"
At the sound of his name,
even from such a great distance and so softly spoken, Duo turned unerringly
towards its source, his resulting grin rivaling the sunshine in brilliance.
By the time Duo had reached his side, Quatre had reigned in his rampaging
libido. If Duo was here, that meant Heero could not be far behind.
"Duo! What is it?!"
"Good to see you, too,
Duo laid out on the chaise
next to the anxious blonde. Quatre moved a little closer and heard...
purring? //Since when did Heero program him to purr?//
Duo sighed melodramatically.
"Just like Heero. What is it with you Preventers, anyways?"
"Turns out Mr. X isnt
the only shady bigshot to have gone missing here, Kat."
Quatre blinked. Getting information
out of Duoman usually involved some sort of emotional bribery. For him
to be this forthcoming so quickly told him that there was something drastically
"By this time, hes
most likely in whatever passes for a jail in this... paradise."
"Six, Kat. Six men have
disappeared from here in the past two months."
"Without a trace. Chances
are their disappearances werent exactly voluntary, Kat. Chances
are they met with some horrific and untimely demise. And chances are that
you and Chang are next on their list."
"But what am I supposed
to do, Duo? Things arent what they seem here. Somethings wrong,
but we dont know what. Every lead we get leads to a dead end."
"I cant tell you what to do, Kat. Ill help you all I
can, but first I have a Heero to rescue. Keep your eyes open. Keep your
ear to the ground. And when youre in that resulting position, keep
some clothes on cuz you are just way too delectable to be walking
around half naked like this."
Quatre couldnt help
but smile. "Ill be careful, Duo." He watched pensively
as Duo stood, noting his slight stiffness. Almost without thinking, he
reached out to catch hold of his hand. "Heero will be alright, Duo."
He leaned down to pull Quatre
into a needy embrace. "I know, Kat. I know. But hes lost without
Preventer Extraordinaire Chang
Wufei was concentrating on his glass. The drink menu in the bar had been,
in his eyes, indecipherable. Having more on his mind that festive concoctions
which he wasnt even planning on ingesting, he had chosen the fifth
item from the top. It wasnt until the words had escaped his mouth
that he began to be curious about what it was he had just ordered. The
bartender had taken one look at his loose, gleaming black hair, flashed
him a smile that was more than merely polite, and handed him a glass filled
with all the colours of sunset in liquid form. He was startled out of
his reflections only when he sensed an overwhelmingly masculine presence
at his side.
"You look like you could
use a friend."
"No," said Wufei.
"I look like I could use a drink, and Ive already got one of
those." He dipped an idle finger into his glass, stirring it languidly
until the colours melded into one.
"I didnt take you
for the drinking type."
As Wufei turned towards his
admirer, he became instantly aware of two things. The first was that the
man before him was the physical incarnation of his most desparate dreams,
right down to the slight, knowing smile and domineering manner. It was
the second observation, however, that caused his heart rate to quicken
slightly -- he was being contacted. After all the searching and
worrying, it had been while he wasnt looking that he had been found.
He smiled deeply into the
mans hazel eyes. "Well, then... what would you suggest?"
"Something a bit sweeter,"
replied the man. "And harder."
It was just as well that Wufei
had no plans on sipping his drink. That last comment would have made him
choke on it.
"I dont usually...
indulge so early in the day."
The man laughed, the sound
setting off shock waves that caused Wufeis slight form to tremble
slightly. "Later, then."
"Ill be looking
forward to it..."
He watched a moment as the
ginger-haired man left the bar. His movements were graceful and sensual,
yet naturally so. There hadnt been a trace of artifice in his actions
or his words. Wufei smiled to himself. There was no doubt about it. This
man was too good to be true. He had to be the one. Satisfied, he went
in search of Quatre, leaving behind him, in a forgotten glass, a broken
Watching Duo walk away was
like waking from a dream. It was only by the tingling in his fingertips
that he knew it to have been real.
"Who was that?"
The question caught him by
surprise. "Wufei! I didnt see you there!"
The Chinese man took the seat
left vacant by the retreating braided figure. "Obviously."
It was by Wufeis following
silence that Quatre knew an answer was still expected to his query.
"Hes just a friend.
A very... close friend."
Wufei raised a single eyebrow.
Quatre blushed the colour
of a spring rose, rushing to tell his partner Duos news in an effort
to keep himself from becoming more flustered. He was very much in love
with, and faithful to, Trowa Barton, but there was something about Duo
that set off a cycle of the wickedest fantasies in Quatres usually
"And Heero told you this..."
"In transit," completed
Quatre. It was a small lie with a pearl of truth in it -- Heero
would be here soon enough. "He thought we could use the backup."
Wufei pulled Quatre over to
his chair, placing the blonde boy squarely in his lap. There were advantages
to going undercover as lovers, the first of which being that no one would
be suspicious if he appeared to be whispering sweet nothings into Quatres
"He may not have as much
time as he thinks. Ive been contacted."
Wufei thought back to Treizes
golden eyes. With distance, he told himself they werent so breathtaking
after all. He almost believed it.
Quatre wrapped his arms around
Wufeis neck. "Ive got a bad feeling about this."
"We came here to do a
job, Quatre. We knew wed be in danger."
"I know, I know."
He sank his cheek to the other boys shoulder. "Do me a favour?
Wufei chuckled. It was something
he allowed himself to do only in his partners presence. If it ever
were to come out that such a sound had escaped his lips, he would go to
his grave denying it.
"Im a Preventer,
Barton. Being careful is what I do."
It was only Wufei who called
him by his married name and it never failed to make Quatre grin like a
fool in love, which is what he proceeded to do now.
"Im going to hold
you to that, Chang."
Heero raised his head slowly
as soon as the last of his tormentors had left the small, barren cell
into which hed been placed. He had not expected to be treated with
dignity. After all, the Preventers were hardly more than thorns in the
sides of the colonies. But when he had been dragged from Deathscythes
cockpit and beaten til he bled, he was shocked beyond belief. They hadnt
even taken the trouble to ask him any questions. He knew he must look
as bad as he felt, but as he slowly stood, testing his battered limbs,
he was assured that nothing had been broken. It was only as he sat again
that he realized something was very wrong. No one had know he was coming
and it wasnt as if he were in uniform. How had they known who he
His thoughts were interrupted
by the door opening. Heero steeled himself for what would most likely
be a continuance of his previous treatment when a deep, vibrant voice
"I see Im a bit
Thinking on his feet was one
of those things Heero Yuy was quite good at. However, in the aftermath
of what he categorized as the third worst beating of his life, the best
reply he could come up with was, "Pardon?"
He raised his eyes and found
himself literally drowning in two icy twin pools.
"If I had been here a
bit sooner, you wouldnt have had to go through this."
Heero put his fingers to his
wrist. Yes -- he seemed to have a pulse which meant his heart was
still beating. But if he was alive, how could he be seeing this angel?
"Oh, *this*? Its
just a scratch."
The man grimaced, reaching
out a long-fingered hand to sweep Heeros hair out of his eyes.
"I beg to differ."
"Listen. Dont take this the wrong way, but... who the hell
"Zechs Merquise. Im
Head of Operations on San Rommell."
Well, thought Heero, that explains... nothing. His beating was
the kind of thing Heads of Operations ordered, not apologized for.
"Its a long story,
Preventer Yuy, one which you shall hear in its entirety. However, I do
believe now is neither the place nor the time."
"There, I would have
Heero attempted to regain
his feet, but the second time around his legs werent quite as cooperative.
"Here." Zechs strode
forward, his platinum blonde hair brushing lightly across Heeros
face as he bent over. "Lean on me."
It was as the taller man took
the shorter into his arms that Duo bounced in the door.
"Hi, honey! Sorry to
have been so long. Lets you and me blow this popstand."
Zechs eyes opened wide
in shock and Heeros cheeks flushed bright pink right about the time
Duo stopped talking and started looking.
"But I see the fucking
cavalrys already arrived."
"No. No need to explain. Who am I after all --"
"I really dont
mean to intrude," broke in Zechs, "but my plan involved more
of an emphasis on 'leaving and less on 'squabbling."
It was then that Duo realized
what his jealously had blinded him to before -- the fact that Heero
was quite possibly leaning on this gorgeous man because he was in no shape
to stand on his own two feet. "Youre right, blondie."
He crossed the room to
take Heero into his arms and lifted him effortlessly. "Sorry I got
all spooked. But hands off the Heero, 'k?" He exited the room only
to poke his head back through the door a second later. "Ummm... Where
is it that we were going?"
When Heero next opened his
eyes, it was to find himself in a very ornate office, reclining against
a warm, comfortable object and feeling like he'd been hit by some sort
of very large moving vehicle. He meant to ask where he was, but somehow,
as he sat up, all that came out was a singularly pained groan.
"Finally awake, sleeping
That voice... Heero turned
around to find that the warm, comfortable object in question was in fact
a faintly amused and disarmingly attractive Zechs Merquise.
Heero was almost positive
there were may other questions that should have come to mind, yet all
he could think of was the holographic boy.
Zechs chuckled. "I had
no idea you were taken."
"I am not... taken!"
Heero sputtered indignantly. "I'm... confused."
It was all coming back to
him now, for all the good the entangled memories were worth. He lowered
his aching head into his hands.
"And I don't have time
"Forgive me. I did not
mean to upset you."
Heero found himself on the
horns of a dilemma. Something big was going on here. That something had
cost the lives of at least six men, and now had his associate and his
best friend in its sights. He needed Zechs with a desperation that was
almost blinding in its intensity.
But could he trust him?
When he had first looked up
into Zechs' sweetly blue eyes back in his cell, he had felt himself inexorably
drawn towards the handsome, long-haired man. He realized his reaction
was coloured more than slightly by his previous rough treatment, and it
was this more than anything that caused him to hold his tongue about Chang's
and Quatre's mission, if only for the time being.
He shook his head to clear
it, managing only to cause the slow tattoo throbbing in his skull to speed
up a notch.
"Where is Duo?"
he repeated. He was too sore to be pleased at Zechs' straight answer.
"In the next room. He
seems to have a freakish fascination with my computer."
Heero couldn't help but grin,
although if asked later he would have had no recollection of having done
so. "Don't mind him. Computers are in his blood."
It was when he stood that
he noticed he was now attired in navy blue coveralls.
Zechs answered his questioning
look. "Your own clothes were a little the worse for wear. I though
it best if they were replaced."
Heero felt the blush rising
to his cheeks and mentally kicked himself for not being able to stop it.
His discomfort was quickly noted and met with Zechs' warm laugh.
"Don't worry. I had very
little to do with it. Your friend insisted on doing it himself."
At this, Heero's blush simply
flared all the brighter. Zechs diplomatically let it slide, although he
found the cobalt-eyed preventer's reaction quite intriguing.
As soon as he entered the
room, he noticed Duo. This in itself was not remarkable -- Duo
tended to attract attention to himself, even when he wasn't being charmingly
boisterous. The surprising thing was that Duo had not yet noticed him.
Duo jerked out of his reverie
with a snap, practically bounding out of his chair and into Heero's arms.
"Heero! You're awake!"
He let himself hold Duo tightly
a short moment before regretfully releasing him. "How long was I
"About four hours. Another
second or two and I would have become worried."
"Duo, you already were worried," spoke Zechs.
Duo threw a rakish grin at
the taller man. "True, blondie, but that was mainly because I left
him alone with you."
Things had obviously changed
between the two long-haired men since Heero had last been conscious. He
was puzzled, but neither of the two seemed to be in a rush to enlighten
"I think now would be
a good time to hear what Zechs has to say," said Heero.
Duo's expression instantly
became serious. "It's an even better time than you think, Heero."
He motioned with his head towards the computer behind him. "That's
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